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Bangladesh - June 19, 2021

Unplanned development causes disappearance of 10 city canals

Water-logging turns regular phenomenon in Dhaka

Golam Mostafa Jibon: At least 10 canals, which once located surrounding Dhaka, have lost existence due to unplanned development in the city and lack of proper maintenance and excavation by the authorities concerned.
Meanwhile, bridges, culverts and even new roads have been constructed on different canals. As a result, water stagnation is being created at places in the city just after a little rain.
Local said, water logging has now become a regular phenomenon in the capital caused by a slight rain as rain water cannot remove for want of proper drainage system linked with the canals. No organization has now any account of the canals in Dhaka. Several government and non-government agencies are providing different confusing information over those.
Some said, there are 51 canals in the capital, while some claimed the number is 48. In the same time, some claimed the number is 32.
However experts claimed that, at least 10 canals located in Dhaka no longer exist due to construction of box-culverts, bridges and roads on those in unplanned manner.
There was a canal from Shahbagh to Moghbazar. Its name was Paribagh Khal on the map of Dhaka WASA. However, there is no sign of the canal now. Sonargaon road is now located there. Like Paribagh canal, other canals of Dhaka have been wiped out from the map. Of them, Dholaikhal, Rayerbazar canal, Arambagh canal, Gopibagh canal, Segunbagicha canal, Gobindpur canal, Kanthalbagan canal, Narinda canal and Dhanmondi canal do not have existence.
It is known that, a big canal and wetland have gone under the road in Panthapath in where the water of the area was drained out through Dhanmondi canal and fell into Begunbari canal via Panthapath.
About a decade ago, there were many canals including Paribagh canal, Kantasur canal, Rayerbazar canal and Arambagh canal in Dhaka. In less than time, the canals have gone disappeared.
The Rajabazar canal was flowed from the west side of Rajabazar to Hotel Sundarbans, which is now Box Calvert Road. Besides, box culverts have been constructed on Dhanmondi canal and Nandipara-Trimohoni canal.
Originating from the present Matsya Bhaban via Bijoynagor, Segunbagicha mosque, Arambagh, South Kamalapur to Gopibagh, there was a long canal which is now paved with a box culvert.
It is learned that, the two city corporations have taken separate projects with a view to restore, renovate and create an aesthetic environment in the canals of Dhaka.
Initially, Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) has taken up a project to develop four canals at a cost of Taka 980 crore. The project is scheduled to be implemented from July 2021 to December 2024.
The DPP of the project has already been prepared and sent to the Planning Commission.
It is learned that, several master plans including Dhaka Town Plan, Dhaka Improvement Trust (DIT) and Detailed Area Plan (DAP) have been prepared in the last 100 years to reduce traffic congestion and water logging in Dhaka city. But these master plans were not fully implemented due to lack of importance and coordination between the utility service providing organizations.
Professor Nazrul Islam, a planner said, “Rivers, canals and reservoirs were supposed to be repaired and conserved so that the rain water could flow away in the Dhaka Town Plan. It was matter of exactly 100 years ago. But we still have to talk about all those. Later it was mentioned in the Detailed Area Plan (DAP), but it has not been implemented yet.”
It is to be mentioned that, Dhaka Improvement Trust (DIT) made a master plan for Dhaka in 1959. It was a period of 20 years from 1960 to 1980. The issue of drainage and floods was also important in this plan. From 1992 to 1995, RAJUK prepared the Dhaka Metropolitan Development Plan (DMDP). It was passed in 1997. The Dhaka Metropolitan Development Plan contained the recommendations of the Detailed Area Plan (DAP). That too was not implemented. At present, RAJUK has planned for a new Dhaka infrastructure. The Detailed Area Plan (DAP) is being revised. In the meantime, they have promised to build reservoirs, but the reservoirs and canals have already been lost.
Professor Nazrul Islam also advised to implement the master plan properly to keep the city livable.

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